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article imageDemocrats in no rush to build border fence

By Iamseven     Jan 17, 2007 in Lifestyle
Mayors of Texas border towns who met with Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff on Wednesday said they are confident a 850-mile fence will not be built on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Raul Salinas, who is the mayor of Laredo, TX, said that it is "very unlikely" that the 850-mile fence (which President Bush signed into law) will actually be built-- because it probably won't be funded.
Today, seven mayors of towns that near the border between the U.S. and Mexico as well as 3 Texas businessmen met with Michael Chertoff, Homeland Security chief, at the office of Texas' Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson.
After the meeting, Chertoff said that parts of the border may have a fence put up but on other parts along the U.S.-Mexican border a fence will simply not be sufficient.
A law has provided $1.2 billion for the fencing, but withholds $950 million of that until the Homeland Security department's plan for spending that money is approved by the House and Senate appropriations committees.
A separate law on Homeland Security Department spending provided $1.2 billion for the fencing. That law also withholds $950 million of the sum until the House and Senate appropriations committees approve the department's plan for spending the money.
Costs on the fence are expected to be high, especially by Democrats who believe that Republicans are downplaying the cost of the fence. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has estimated that the fence would cost a little over $1 million a mile.. keep in the mind the proposed fence is about ~850 miles long.. and this figure does not include buying the land on which the fence will be built. Of course, maintenance fees will have to be paid down the road for the up-keep of the fence as well.
Homeland Security has already signed a contract with Boeing for what is known as the Secure Border Initiative. The contract includes a "virtual fence" of surveillance gear and new methods for border agents. The first phase of this is expected to be completed in June (in Arizona). The project will likely cost somewhere in the ballpark of 8-30 billion.
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